Giving Tuesday: Creative Spin on Engaging Donors

Sunday, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Giving Tuesday has gained momentum over the last few years. We wanted to break through the clutter and engage our alumni and donor base with a unique message. The Harper College Educational Foundation in conjunction with the College's  marketing team, created a campaign that included an original song and music video that illustrated the importance of education and how believing, and investing, in our students’ education via the Educational Foundation is critical to success.

The campaign theme “Believe” was incorporated in all messaging: song, video, web, email and social media. Our web and social media messages were general and appealed to all audiences. However, our emails were segmented into two audiences: Donors and Alumni. This allowed us to tailor messages based on each audience’s motivation for giving. Donor emails combined donor giving stories and scholarship recipient stories. Alumni emails focused on scholarship recipient stories. We also encouraged our alumni to donate the year they graduated in dollars and cents, i.e. a 1984 graduate would donate $19.84. This proved to be very successful and well received by alumni.

Finally, we hit social media hard this year with Giving Tuesday. Weekly posts across channels were outlined and executed beginning early November, including two paid boosted posts – one on Facebook and one on Instagram. We also partnered with external constituents (Friends of Harper) to be social ambassadors for Giving Tuesday and share Harper’s posts within their network during the campaign. All social posts mirrored the stories and messages promoted that week via email.


Anna Ghiotti, Marketing Specialist, Harper College

Kevin Prchal , Digital Content Specialist , Harper College

Heather Zoldak , Associate Executive Director/Major Gifts, Harper College


Ready for the Next Generation: Student Philanthropy at a Community College

Sunday, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Increase the culture of philanthropy on your campus, cultivate your next generation of givers, and steward your existing donors! This session makes the case for student philanthropy and walks you through the strategies necessary to succeed at a community college. We'll discuss how to plan activities, recruit student volunteers, and get boards and committees involved.


Katharine R. Zurek, Annual Giving Specialist, Northwestern Michigan College


A Case for Emotions – A suggestion for a future development in fundraising performance measurement

Sunday, 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.

What if you could pull up a dashboard and see how well your fundraisers have taken care of your donors? What if we could come up with a score on how well donors are looked after? Currently the metrics used in fundraising are dollars and number of interactions. This makes sense, since both are easily measured. However, major gift officers say they spend precious little time asking for money, and more time “fostering the relationship,” (Breeze, 2017). This suggests that we should pay attention to emotional and relational cues, in addition to traditional fundraiser performance metrics.

We present original research on how major gift officers embed emotional and relational cues in their contact reports. Using a coding system we developed along with a computerized linguistics program, we analyzed themes present in contact reports in a university setting. How do emotional and relational cues in contact reports differ between male and female donors? Across different schools (e.g. business vs. law school)? By type of interaction (e.g. in person vs. phone call)? Future research will examine how these characteristics predict giving patterns among major donors.


Maarten Bout, Director of Development – Major Gifts, Indiana University Maurer School of Law


Raising Principal Gifts

Sunday, 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.

This session will provide insights and ideas for building relationships and increasing results with our highest-capacity donors. A verity in our work as fundraisers is that a majority of philanthropic dollars comes from a relatively small number of donors. The strength of our effort in engaging our wealthiest donors is an essential element in maximizing support for the long-term health and vitality of our institutions. 

We will discuss ‘listening for the gift’, achieving meaningful and unique donor partnerships, building the best strategic team for each donor, asking, taking the long-view when needed, and stewardship.  We will look at the role and importance of principal gifts in building endowment, in successful campaigns, in supporting the operating budget and in increasing donor confidence and pride. We will consider key elements supporting robust principal gift production, including the role of annual giving and major giving in generating principal gift leads and in the development of future principal giving donors.


Jim Howard, Director of Principal Gifts, Grinnell College


Pressing Pause: A Reimagination of Stewardship Events & Recognition

Monday, 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

Stewardship events form an important component of the donor experience at many institutions, providing opportunities for benefactors to interact with like-minded peers in fellowship, draw nearer to the impact of their gifts, and receive well-deserved recognition for their generosity. While it may be tempting to stick to the status quo with a tried and true recognition event format, it is especially important to periodically assess the extent to which these experiences may need to evolve to address the changing priorities of your institution. Through an in-depth look at a recent initiative to completely revamp a well-entrenched stewardship event series at a major University, this session will provide attendees with important considerations for maximizing the impact of stewardship events, refreshing recognition experience, and implementing broad-sweeping changes among a benefactor group.


Mary Fisher, Sr. Program Director, Special Events & Stewardship, University of Notre Dame


Principal Gifts: How to start a Program and Best Practices from Our Peers

Monday, 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

As more and more Higher Education institutions focus on larger and larger gifts for their institutions, it is critical to have an understanding around Principal Giving including how to establish a new Program and best practices in programs that are more mature.

Outcomes for this session will include how to establish a principal gifts program, best practices in principal giving and sample strategies for principal gift prospects.


Randy Pratt, Associate Vice President for Principal Gifts and Presidential Priorities, Miami University


Making the Ask: Tried and True tricks of the Trade (aka…Major gift ask ideas that work)

Monday, 10:30- 11:30 a.m.

Together, Carrie and Heather have a combined 30 years of major gift experience for the University of Illinois and they are sharing what works for them with both new and mid-career fundraising-focused professionals. Meeting as colleagues and as local volunteers for the Junior League, Heather has served three colleges in her time at Illinois while Carrie has been with Athletics for her 16+ years. During this dynamic 60 minute presentation, we share tips for getting the appointments (and it's not all email), preparing yourself and your leadership team for the meeting, practicing the ask and following up — making time to consider all the things you can control and what you need to control – in the work of making the solicitation for support. We will share language suggestions, tactics and strategies we have made work that has helped our careers, which includes two campaigns, seven supervisors, and countless leadership changes for one incredible university. We have shared this presentation several times with our colleagues on campus and having heard their feedback, we have agree to challenge ourselves and see if we can share our experience with our CASE colleagues. Topics include: travel fundamentals, events, calendar management, knowing who you're speaking with and what you're going to say, being okay with uncomfortable conversations, being efficient and effective and keeping the donor in mind – and in focus. Leaving time for questions, including the importance of stewardship, this presentation will leave even an advanced development officer with some new ideas.


Heather Vazquez, Senior Director of Advancement, University of Illinois

Carrie Ummel, Associate Athletic Director, University of Illinois


Building Scholarships and Awards

Monday, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Scholarships and awards are an integral part of a successful development operation in higher education.  Building them for a donor is a skill that many new development professionals do not inherently understand.  This session will explain the usefulness of annual scholarships, the differences between merit and needs based scholarships and awards, how to build properly crafted stipulations, and the true value of endowments.  When development professionals have a firm handle on creating the proper scholarship or award for their constituents, they can deliver powerful and positive results for their donors, their departments and programs and their institution of higher learning. 


Kyle Moore, Director of Development, College of Arts & Sciences, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Sara Colvin, Director of Development, School of Business, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville


Collaborative Fundraising to Maximize Community Visibility and Open New Donor Channels

Monday, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

This presentation provides multi-constituent and multi-institutional approaches to collaborative community visibility and fundraising goals, particularly at smaller institutions of higher education.  Expanding audience diversity as a means to build a more diverse donor base as well as generate new donor funds are key elements of this presentation.  Speakers will provide concrete strategies and explore both pros and cons from the lessons learned.  The college presenting has successfully worked with multiple development organizations in these efforts.


Jonah Rice, President, Southeastern Illinois College

Angela Wilson, Executive Director of Marketing and Development, Southeastern Illinois College

Melody Bryant, Coordinator of Public and Community Relations, Southeastern Illinois College


An Omni-Channel Annual Giving Strategy to Save Your Annual Giving Program

Monday, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Annual giving teams are under pressure. The numbers show that teams are squeezing more money from fewer donors than they ever have before. Due to these factors, it is increasingly important to develop a strategy to increase donors and improve retention rates. In this research-based session, Emily Berry, Assistant Vice President of Development, Individual and Annual Giving at Miami University and Mike Bernard, Vice President of Marketing at Reeher will examine how segmentation, timing, and a multi-channel approach can support a lifetime value strategy.


Mike Bernard, Vice President, Marketing, Reeher

Emily Berry, Assistant Vice President of Development, Individual and Annual Giving, Miami University


Campaign Launch on a Shoestring: How to Make It Memorable

Monday, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

In 2017, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee launched the public phase of its largest campaign to date with a goal of $200 million – double that of its previous campaign. We needed to execute a memorable launch event that would energize our donors, leadership, faculty and staff, and spur future gifts. Along the way, our team of three faced hurdles, including a budget of about $25,000, a change in venue less than three months before the event, maintaining the secrecy of a surprise goal, and the challenge of a Monday night launch.

What we wound up with was what our guests called “UWM’s finest event” – and we didn’t even serve dinner!

Our presentation will focus on the strategies we used to stretch our dollars while still making an impression, such as:

•       Leveraging our relationship with an alumnus executive, resulting in the use of his corporate auditorium free of charge

•       Utilizing high-impact visual décor, including bar and cocktail tables with illuminated logos and streamer cannon for the reveal of the goal

•       Displaying colorful reusable banners highlighting the campaign focus of each school and college

•       Getting earned media coverage in the city’s main newspaper, business journal, and lifestyle magazine

•       Incorporating surprise announcements into the program to gain the attention of media

•       Serving heavy hors d’oeuvres instead of dinner

•       Playing a campaign video created by our university communications team

•       Hiring a student-led music group

•       Serving campaign-branded water bottles and gift bag treats, including a special campaign-branded coffee from an alumnus-owned company


Kari Anderson-Pink, Campaign Communications Manager, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Susan Mendelson, Campaign Manager, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Ana Conant, Director of Stewardship, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


Don’t Stop Believin’: Onboard MGO’s to Close Gifts in the First 90 Days!

Monday, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

This session will focus on a detailed 90-day major gifts officer onboarding plan; a plan that has been highlighted in national webinars and can be used for new or seasoned gift officers coming into a major gifts role. The presenters will highlight how their plan, parlayed with data-driven prospecting for their portfolios, has led to a series of record-breaking years for Purdue University College of Pharmacy.

Attendees will leave this session with an onboarding template for their own use and ideas for how to mine their data when creating prospect portfolios for their gift officers.


Dan Bolsen, Director of Development, Purdue University

John Dinkens, Chief Development Officer, Purdue University


Are You Qualified?

Tuesday, 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

When faced with the challenge of trying to assess the effectiveness of our major gift prospect qualification work at The Ohio State University, we used data to identify and confirm the issues, employed both art and science to build solutions, initiated a training program to ensure the entire organization understood how to move forward and adjusted our CRM/database in order to better capture, track, and report on this new process and the outcomes related to it. 


Chris Delisio, Assistant Vice President for Development, The Ohio State University

Chris Brakenbury, Director of Prospect Development, The Ohio State  University


How Can I Help?

Tuesday, 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

Many staff or faculty want to help support fund raising efforts, but they really don’t know where to start or how they fit in to fund raising strategies. In this session we will share the information that Student Affairs at ILLINOIS is using, division-wide, to help all staff feel a part of the current “With Illinois” Campaign.


M. Angela Dimit, Director of Advancement, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign


Donor Relations on the Frontlines: Collaborating with Fundraisers for Strategic Stewardship

Tuesday, 10:30 – 11:30 am

While strong partnerships with front-line fundraisers can elevate the profile and impact of a stewardship team and enhance the donor experience, in practice they can prove to be a rather nebulous undertaking. This session will detail how shops of all sizes can strategically collaborate with front-line fundraisers to ensure that current and potential benefactors to an institution experience gratitude for their giving, know the impact of their generosity, and as a result seek to deepen their philanthropic relationships.


Mary Fisher, Sr. Program Director, Special Events & Stewardship, University of Notre Dame


Don't Get Lost in Giving Tuesday- Create Your Own On-line Celebration

Tuesday, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Giving Tuesday has heightened the awareness of philanthropy.  However, it has grown so large that many good causes are missed in the larger landscape.  For two years now, Monmouth College has passed on Giving Tuesday and instead focused on its own unique celebration of on-line giving and social media.  This session shares our experience of:  Scots Day of Giving- April 18th.  The date is the anniversary of the college being established on April 18, 1853.  Scots Day of Giving is a single day event running 18 hours and 53 minutes.


John T. Osterlund, Vice President for Development and College Relations, Monmouth College